Jan 26, 2020

Pete Stark, former congressman who helped draft the ACA, dies

Pete Stark speaks during a news conference to call for an end to the Afghanistan War, March 9, 2011. Photo: Bill Clark/Roll Call

Former Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) has died, his family confirmed in a statement Saturday. He was 88.

Why it matters: Per AP, during his 40-year congressional career, Stark, who died Friday, helped draft the Affordable Care Act. He played a major role in the 1986 Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, or COBRA, which "allows people to stay on their employers’ insurance after leaving a job," the Washington Post notes.

Go deeper: The ACA is doing fine without a mandate penalty

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California's Affordable Care Act coverage experiment

Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Covered California, the state's Affordable Care Act exchange, announced yesterday that new enrollment rose 41% in 2020 after the state reinstated the individual mandate and expanded the law's insurance subsidies.

Why it matters: If California is acting as a real-life test case for what happens when policymakers beef up the ACA, the experiment seems to be going well, at least in terms of coverage numbers.

Go deeperArrowFeb 19, 2020 - Health

Coronavirus global death toll surpasses SARS

A medical staff member walks past Wuhan Central Hospital in China on Friday. Photo: Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

The novel coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, has now killed more people than the 2003 SARS outbreak, the latest health figures show.

What's happening: Health authorities in China's Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak, reported 81 new deaths from the virus on Saturday — taking the toll in the region to 780. China's National Health Commission confirmed later Saturday that a total of 811 people have died of coronavirus in the country.

Go deeperArrowFeb 9, 2020 - Health

New Zealand volcanic eruption: What you need to know

A family returns from the Frigate HMNZS Wellington from where they observed a minute's silence near Whakaari/White Island in the nearby town of Whakatāne, New Zealand. Photo: John Borren/Getty Images

The death toll from New Zealand's Whakaari/White Island volcanic eruption has risen to 21. American man Pratap "Paul" Singh, 49, died of his injuries in an Auckland hospital, police confirmed in a statement Thursday.

The latest: Singh sustained burns to 55% of his body in the Dec. 9 eruption, his family said in a statement released by police. He was on the island with his American wife, Pratap "Mary" Singh, who suffered burns to 72% of her body and who died of her injuries Dec. 22. They're survived by an 11-year-old son and 6-year-old twin daughters.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Jan 30, 2020